Catonsville women's club has contributed to community since 1936

The Hutzler's department store in the Westview shopping center — where the Rolling Hills Women's Club used to meet in the basement — is gone.

So is the garden in the middle of downtown Catonsville where members had to use buckets they brought in their station wagons to water the plants — there was no access to a hose at the location.

But the club is still going strong, according to club president Mary Edna Conroy.

Fifty former member and members met Oct. 10 at City Lights on the Charlestown retirement community's Maiden Choice Lane campus to celebrate the club's 75th anniversary.

The attendees enjoyed the unique black-and-diamond table settings designed by fellow member Bobbie Schubert and Margaret Milleker's recitation of the club's many accomplishments during its history, Conroy said.

To raise money for $2,000 scholarships for students graduation from Catonsville High School and for students in the Community College of Baltimore County's nursing program, the club hosts events such as an Oct. 16 wine and cheese party and an April bridge party, Conroy said.

"Years ago, we used to hold big dances, very elaborate affairs," Conroy said, adding the group once boasted a membership of 138. "But we were younger then."

Ruth Burgess has been with the group for more than 55 years, making her the longest-serving of the club's 45 members, Conroy said,

Its monthly meetings still include guest speakers, Conroy said, with Catonsville residents such as Baltimore County Town Crier Fred Taylor and author Dana Kollman, who wrote "Never Suck on a Dead Man's Hand."

The club's fundraising drives for it ongoing efforts include a January "Shove Under," when members bring in Christmas gifts they were tempted to shove back under the tree and exchange them for $5.

Those ongoing efforts include one led by Ginny Citko to create gift bags for children around the world who undergo surgery for cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities in the Operation Smile program and the drive led by Pat Schwartz to fill backpacks with school supplies for distribution by the Catonsville Emergency Food Ministry, Conroy said.

Recent drives have collected books for the library at Gwynns Falls Elementary School and knitted baby caps for newborns at St. Agnes Hospital, she said.

The club meets on the second Monday of each month at Salem Lutheran Church. Annual dues are $45.

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